Despite the name, “latex paint” is no longer made with synthetic latex (styrene-butadiene latex) or natural rubber latex, and most brands (if not all) should be safe for those who have to avoid natural rubber latex proteins. Nevertheless, I asked the most eco-friendly paint brands if they are free of latex and I have reported on that below.
The following polymers (binders) can be referred to as “latex” when speaking of paint:
- Acrylic polymers (this is what the majority of “latex paint” contains as the binder)
- Vinyl Acetate Ethylene (VAE) – Farrow and Ball paints use this binder and in some sub-lines, they use acrylic as well
- Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) – this is usually used in specialized primers
Alternative binders used in specialty paints include:
- Casein (from milk) is the binder in milk paints
- Linseed oil is the binder in natural linseed oil-based paints (like Allback)
- Potassium and sodium silicate are the main binders in mineral paints (like Kiem), which also contain plastic binders in small amounts
In terms of which brands are definitely free of natural rubber latex, I’m reporting below on what I’ve heard back from each company. The information is only as accurate as what the company reps told me in their emails. Be sure to double-check if you need to go to great extents to avoid natural latex.
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An ECOS Paint rep said in an email that their paint does not contain natural latex. This is the top pick for zero-VOC paint among the chemically sensitive. Their Declare Label for this 100% acrylic paint lists the ingredients. Buy it online.
This acrylic paint is the next favorite choice amongst the chemically sensitive. The owner of AFM Safecoat said in an email that their paint does not contain natural latex. Buy it online.
Milk Paint is made with casein, natural pigments (earth oxides), lime, titanium dioxide, and in one brand, clay. The Real Milk Paint brand comes in powder form and the company said it’s free of natural rubber latex. Buy Milk Paint directly through the Real Milk Paint Company (code mychemicalfreehouse for 10% off) or through Amazon.
The Zinsser site says “Paint and Latex Allergies: Latex allergies are to natural latex proteins, and it is to the natural proteins to which latex allergies are relevant. Latex paint isn’t derived from plant materials but is made from synthetic resins, and therefore persons with a latex allergy are at no increased risk from being exposed to latex paint.”
Kiem Interior Wall Paint
A rep for the company said in an email there are no latex allergens in the Kiem Mineral Wall Paint.
Allback Linseed Oil Paint
Allback lists their ingredients and they said in an email it’s latex-free.
Farrow and Ball
I did not hear back from the company about this question.
Benjamin Moore EcoSpec provides a Declare Label of their ingredients but I did not hear back from the company about this question.
The main paint article goes into much more detail on the composition of each paint and thier suitability for sensitive populations.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.